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Suns GM says Marquese Chriss was ‘a little bit out of shape’ in offseason

Phoenix Suns forward Marquese Chriss (0) takes a shot against Detroit Pistons forward Stanley Johnson (7) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
LISTEN: Ryan McDonough, Suns GM

Year two of Marquese Chriss’ NBA career could be described to this point as “up and down.”

After earning NBA Second Team All-Rookie honors last season, Chriss has struggled to find consistent minutes and his numbers are down almost across the board.

Of course, Chriss is still very young — he turned 20 in July. But according to Suns general manager Ryan McDonough, there was another factor holding the second-year player back in the beginning stages of the season.

“I think Marquese had a very good rookie year a year ago and showed a lot of progress throughout the year,” McDonough told Burns & Gambo Wednesday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “I think this offseason, he got a little bit out of shape, and he realizes that and has recently started to get in much better shape — the weight’s come down.”

Chriss started 16 straight games at one point, but recently had come off the bench in three in a row as head coach Jay Triano continues to tinker with his big man rotation. But Chriss was back in the starting five Wednesday night, scoring 10 points and grabbed four rebounds in 22:51 of playing time in a blowout loss to Detroit.

McDonough believes that Chriss’ improvement is closely related to his physical condition.

“You guys know he’s a phenomenal athlete with the unique ability to run the floor and block shots and finish above the rim, but to do those things, you need to be in elite condition,” McDonough said. “I don’t know if he’s all the way there yet. I think he’s getting there or most of the way there.”

Chriss and the Suns continue their road trip Saturday in Boston against the Celtics — a game that tips off at 11 a.m. Phoenix time and can be heard on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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